This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

May 19, 2014

Agaves and sansevieria with a cycad

I've been fiddling with the area just in front of one of my nicest cycads, a dioon edule. This past fall I planted some bulbs, which turned out to be a failure. In fact, this area just screamed out *failure!* for months. So I am doing some redesigning of this very visible area.

It has a western exposure, so it gets hot, but it gets some shade from the olive tree, and shade from the house, in the late afternoon. So, it's not really the *fires of hell*, but it's pretty rough going for plants in the summer.

As you can see, I have planted different species of miniature agaves. And that's a sansevieria (a type of *snake plant*) in the center. Right now I'm not convinced of the little agave that the Moai is frowning at. Hopefully I will be able to replace it with an aloe. This area will also need more pointy rocks, and river rocks, to help fill in the spaces as the plants grow in. By the way, be double-dog sure of the species of agave that you are planting. Only get the types that stay very small, and grow slowly, like the Agave Colorata (the silver-grey ones) and the Agave potatorum cv Kichijokan (that's the tiny yellow and green one). Not sure what the exact name of the one is that the Moai is frowning at, but I've had it in a pot for years and it stays pretty tiny. Besides, I'm gonna replace it with an aloe. Go to a respectable nursery and ask which agaves stay small. A good clue is a ridiculously high price for a big one. If it's cheap, it grows fast and gets big, and you don't want it.

Hopefully this *failure* area will look better soon!
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